“But Jesus was in the stern of the boat, asleep on the cushion; and the disciples awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care if we perish?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:35-41
I have a wonderful old print that belonged to my dearly departed Grandma, Emmajean Barker, of Jesus calming the sea with His word. It’s so old, I can only imagine it was her grandmother’s before her, and maybe her grandmother’s before that! It has that warm, washed out coloring that was common generations ago, but which also suggests years and years of hanging on the wall in parlor after parlor—giving assurance to all who would look on it that Jesus does indeed care if we perish, and is with us to still the winds and calm the turbulent seas of our lives. I only wish I knew how long this print had been in my family, to know who had drawn strength from the account of Jesus and the disciples on the troubled sea.
It doesn’t really matter, of course, because we know that Christians have received peace and serenity from this story from those first disciples and onward! How could we not look to Jesus again, when our lives seem out-of-control, and it appears the boat is just about to tip over? We share each and every one of the thoughts and feelings of those in the boat—from panic, to fear, to worry that Jesus is asleep, paying us no heed. We wonder, “Jesus, don’t you care if we perish?” This account is not only the story of followers of Jesus two thousand years ago—it is the story of our lives, as we all too often feel about to go under.
Does this passage describe your life today? Do you experience life at the moment as tossing and turning, out-of-control, so that you don’t know if you’re going to keep the boat afloat? Do you worry at times that Jesus doesn’t care and isn’t aware of what you’re going through? Our text for today assures us and promises that Jesus, Lord of wind and wave, is with us and cares for us and, with His Word, will still the storms of life and bring us, again, to peace and calm!
Lord Jesus Christ, you have promised to be with us always, even to the close of the age. Comfort us with your presence, and calm the storms which rage without and within; in your name we pray. Amen.
Prepared by Rev. Dr. David Wendell, North American Lutheran Church